Radio announcers influence fans
Early criticism of Dunn helped him become hot topic
BY JOHN ERARDI | JERARDI@ENQUIRER.COM
When it comes to the public's perception of players, Marty and Thom Brennaman might have more influence than anybody else - including the athletes themselves.
The two Brennamans, along with fellow announcer Jeff Brantley, have not been shy about calling attention to Adam Dunn's shortcomings.
Greg Gajus, who writes about and researches baseball statistics, said the Brennamans helped turn fans against Dunn, particularly early in the season.
"(Their) constant carping of his weaknesses is what has made him more of a lightning rod," Gajus says. "A characteristic of all bad teams, and their fans, is that they focus on the shortcomings of their best players, instead of the real weaknesses of the team."
True, the two Brennamans and Brantley focused on Dunn's weaknesses. But in the second half of the season, they became backers of Dunn, to whom they'd dished out criticism leading up to the trade deadline.
Marty Brennaman understands why some people might blame him and his cohorts for making Dunn the focus of discontent.
"But, like I've said before, 'If I'm going to praise you when you play well, then I reserve the right to be critical of you when you don't.' ... If (listeners) were turned off on Adam Dunn by my comments from April to the All-Star Game, then they've got to be turned on to him by what I've said since then."
The Brennamans say they think Dunn could do something about his standing with Reds fans. Thom says Dunn could warm up to the idea of being a Red, and Marty says if Dunn lost some weight, he'd reach more balls in the outfield and score on more balls hit through the infield.
Like most big men, Dunn does take awhile to get moving.
"He is not physically able to cover the ground people want him to cover," Brantley says. "As a result, he's diving for balls he probably shouldn't be diving for (because it puts his health, and thus, his real value on offense at risk), but he's trying to prove to people, 'I'm trying as hard as I can.' "